Refuge

by Annette Snyckers

Don’t look away,
don’t sigh,
look at them
they look like you and me.

Trying to pass through Macedonia,
they sit in summer sunshine on the grass,
lie languid, waiting in the shade —
but it is not a picnic.

Don’t look away,
don’t sigh.

They disembark on Greek islands
among ice cream-eating tourists,
but this is no holiday,
the boat trip not for fun.

Look at them,
they look like you and me.

A beloved kitten comes along,
teddy bears and dolls,
but some small hands cannot hold on,
he lies face down on a beach near Bodrum,
washed up in the sand.

Don’t look away,
don’t sigh,
look at them –
the refugees.

They look like you and me.

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Lesbos

by Liz Trew

summer 2016

Lesbos, where Sappho, slender and passionate
in a light robe leaves us fragments – love-poems
to her daughter, her women, her island

and poet Elytis says, I give my hand to justice
diaphanous fountain, sublimest spring.
I fly in to the airport named after him.

Refugees came in their thousands across
the Aegean. So many brought from war
by water, pulled out to safety
some crushed to death inside their boats
some lost – drowned on their journey.

Days grow hot at the edge of blue ocean
the blueness of longing.
Olive trees inland rise in green waves
the sage-green of hope.

Along lines of tamarisk trees
voices of Babylon on the hot shore
where a mother finds her four children dead
and another struggles to give birth

we villagers gather to receive,
the love of others our belonging

Dimitri of Hotel Aphrodite
flings open his doors,
Aphrodite his daughter dishes out food,
The Dirty Girls collect worn clothes
to wash and return,
Malinda of Starfish cares for the women.

The summer calm. Migrants on
their long walk.
Roads and shore almost empty;
a few slashed rubber dinghies
a few wrecked wooden boats.
Someone has put flowers in a hut
built of lost oars and pieces of flotsam.

I walk on hot stones
sink into a volcanic-hot ocean
rise to cool off and swim.
On the road inland
I fetch bottles of spring water
from the hill fountain. As the sun sets
the image of Mount Athos
appears on the fiery horizon.
The child sleeps
under the summer moon.

Days grow hot O Babylon
Tis cool beneath the olive trees

On the Move

by Angela Prew

Crammed into little boats, unseaworthy
floating coffins, thousands of men,
women and children set out
across the sea,
seeking refuge.
The World is on the move.

Homes destroyed, lives shattered, long treks
undertaken in the search for peace,
a future, hope, new lives free from
daily terror.
The World is on the move.

Rivers of desperation, always moving, restless,
always searching. Who will take them in, offer them
a home, a way to earn a living?
‘Something must be done,’ we say.
‘Not in our backyard,’ we say.
‘They must move on,’ we say.
The World is on the move.